Have you ever asked yourself why motorsport is still so popular in the 21st century?
Whether it’s Formula 1 or kart racing, the atmosphere for the fans and racers is pretty much the same. The crackle of exploding exhaust gases drumming your ears, fumes singeing your eyes and holding your breath whilst racers take life threatening levels of risk. All this in order to experience the thrill of winning – unforgettable. But it all costs money, lots of it, right? So why, what’s the point of it commercially? Is there any point?
You could say the same for most sports, however motorsport at any level is less accessible than say soccer, tennis or cycling. Even at the grass roots, getting an 8-year-old into a competitive go-kart is far more expensive than kicking a football between two sweaters rolled up for goal posts in the local park.
So what is it all about, why get involved and why does it matter? The more popular soccer becomes the more soccer shirts the top clubs sell, the more people play tennis the more racquets and tennis shoes the manufacturers sell. When it comes to the highest levels of motorsport the answer is simple, they sell more race machines? Wrong. You can’t buy what races around most racetracks for getting to work. What you actually buy are the production-line-available differentiators those race machines are perfecting for your everyday car or motorcycle. You just don’t see it. What you also may not see is the depth to which both mechanical engineering and information technology play in the making of a successful race team. The formula all racing teams strive for is greater speed and agility. More power, stronger and safer with less weight equals faster acceleration, faster top speed and crucially faster corner speed. And don’t forget the ability to stop, super quick.
Those mechanical components and the technology that supports the development of those components that are successful in transitioning onto commercial production lines are the reasons motorsport thrives in the 21st century and the rapid emergence of electric power trains will ensure the sport continues to be relevant long into the future.
In 1999, during my role as Chief Marketing Officer at SAP UK, I was approached by Phil Martin-Dye who was searching for a sponsor to support his 9-year-old son “Fast Freddie” who was a rising young star in European FIA go-karting. It is well established that successful go-kart racers have a better than average chance of ending up racing in a Formula 1 car, the highest echelon of motor sport. SAP was already a leading technology company but before its now long-standing partnership with McLaren Mercedes, I concluded that Fast Freddie would be the perfect ambassador for the company.
Fast Freddie had a number of successful seasons with multiple podium places and everything was looking positive for Fred’s promotion into the higher echelons of the sport. Alas, this was not to be. The bigger sponsors Fred needed to finance his journey to the top of the sport simply dried up and ultimately Fred took a break from racing and attended the University of Bath in the United Kingdom where he earned a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Still looking for opportunities to live his dream, Fred raced in the British Formula Ford 200 EcoBoost Championship in 2012 and 2013 but was unable to compete as much as he wanted because of the need for sponsorship funds.
As a result, Fred decided to dedicate his time and the engineering skills acquired during his studies to his work at Jaguar Land Rover and then to a role at McLaren where he now works in special projects management and as a test driver for the company’s elite road cars.
Imagine my surprise when I received a letter from him 20 years after my role in his kart racing career saying, “Dear Martin, I do hope you remember me, “Fast Freddie”. I appreciate the faith you put in me with your support by SAP at the time…” Not having given up his dream of racing, Fred Martin-Dye was looking for a sponsor again.
Basis Technologies Group Ltd is a London HQ’d SME company dedicated to delivering speed and agility to customers running SAP through our leading DevOps and Testing for SAP automation solutions. We’re not SAP and Fred is not Carlos Sainz. But after receiving Fred’s letter and meeting the man, I was immediately struck by his professionalism and the uncanny similarities our career turns had taken. I quickly became convinced that this very talented young man, diligent and driven with a passion for speed and precision, has qualities which make him a great race car driver on the one hand and a fantastic ambassador for Basis Technologies on the other.
Part of Fred’s role is fully stress-testing McLaren’s high-performance road cars – the so-called “shake-down” – before those are handed over to journalist test drivers to be presented on television car shows. A fantastic part of the job.
This testing element also aligns with what we do at Basis Technologies, as a major component of our software platform is a revolutionary regression testing product called Testimony. Companies are adopting this unique software to cuts costs and eliminate the risk of business disruption with test automation that doesn’t require scripting or test maintenance – the main challenges of traditional testing.
I am thrilled to be in a position to sponsor Fred again some 20 years after I first believed in him. I am incredibly impressed by the man he has become. Now at 30 years of age, he still has the passion for racing and is working for a company that is one of the most famous racing brands in the world.
The Road Ahead
This story has truly come full circle now that we have partnered with Fred and will be an integral part of this next chapter in his life and racing career.
The racing season which Fred now competes in a McLaren 570S GT4, recently kicked off in Oschersleben, Germany followed by the ADAC GT Masters series in Spielberg, Austria! Stay tuned to see Fred Martin-Dye climb the winners’ podium in the Basis Technologies McLaren GT4 as he continues to hit some of the world’s most popular tracks throughout the season.
Our complete DevOps and Robotic Test Automation platform engineered specifically for SAP is helping customers across the globe to massively reduce the time and energy needed to test and deliver continuous change.
To learn more about Basis Technologies automation tools, please request a demonstration of our products ActiveControl and Testimony and see they can help you leave your competitors behind.